Posted on behalf of POST – Photographing Our Stories Together

This project explores the life experiences of women who engage in sex work in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. We define “women who engage in sex work” as women or Trans* women who are working in the sex industry, who are 18 years or older, and receives money or goods for sexual services.

We are looking for women who have engaged in sex work for at least 6 months and:
– Live or work in or around St. John’s, NL
– Live or work in or around Stephenville, NL
– Live or work in or around Corner Brook, NL

If this is you, we would like to invite you to take part in this community-based study working with the St. John’s Women’s Centre, the Corner Brook Women’s Centre, and the Bay of St. George Women’s Centre. In this study, participants will be asked to take photographs that represent their experiences, and the different personal and social factors that impact their lives. Participants will discuss their images and create a photograph exhibit, which will be shared online. Participants will decide which photos to include in the exhibit, and the research team will also study the online reception of the exhibit.

For this study, participants are asked to take part in one individual interview and two group meetings. The individual interview will last 60-90 minutes and the group meetings will last 2.5-3 hours. Participants will receive a $50 gift card for the individual interview and $50 gift card for each group meeting as compensation for their time. All participants will also receive a digital camera.

For participants who live or work in or around St. John’s: The St. John’s Women’s Centre
For participants who live or work in or around Stephenville and Corner Brook: The Corner Brook Women’s Centre or the Bay of St. George Women’s Centre (dependent on the location of participants)

Participation is completely voluntary. All interviews will take place over a 2-month period. Interviews will start depending on participant availability.

Precautions will be taken to ensure high levels of confidentiality are in place for all participants. The decision to participate, or not, will not affect any services women may be accessing at the Women’s Centres.

For more information about this study, please call 1-833-220-8700 (toll-free) or contact:
Kathleen Sitter, PhD
Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board has approved this research study

This project has received secondary review and approval by Memorial University’s Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research (ICEHR) and the Grenfell Campus Research Ethics Board (CG-REB)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Drop-in Counselling Program Successfully Completes Pilot Project

The Right Here, Right Now (RHRN) drop-in counselling clinic, the region’s first and only drop-in counselling clinic for women, today releases a comprehensive evaluation of their innovative pilot program.

The Right Here, Right Now Drop-In Counselling Initiative represents a partnership between the St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre (SJSWC/WC) and the School of Social Work at Memorial University. The initiative was led by Dr. Catherine de Boer, Associate Professor with the School of Social Work. Memorial’s Office of Public Engagement provided $10,000 in funding for the design and evaluation of the project.

Over the course of the six-month pilot, a total of 156 counselling sessions were offered to 78 women. The primary concern of women coming for counselling was their mental health, (e.g., anxiety, depression, PTSD) relationships, and trauma.

According to the evaluation results, the pilot of the RHRN counselling clinic was a resounding success. Women who utilized the service found it useful, with many choosing to return for repeat sessions or to engage in other programs offered by the Women’s Centre. As hoped, RHRN did provide a necessary stop gap for women awaiting traditional mental health services within the region. The evaluation noted that 32 per cent of women who utilized the service were on waitlists for “traditional” mental health services, with a mean wait time of 15.5 months. The average length of the RHRN service, from intake through the wait time and a completed counselling session was 90 minutes.

The evaluation found the RHRN drop-in counselling clinic to offer a useful, relevant, and responsive service for women in the community. Counselling sessions continue to be offered through the program twice a week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Women’s Centre from 12-5 p.m. The SJSWC/WC is seeking sustaining funding for the program with the goal of continuing to offer it long-term. The complete pilot program evaluation is available for download here. 

“At the Women’s Centre we saw a huge gap in the availability of mental health services, especially for women, that we wanted to address. With the guidance of Dr. Catherine de Boer we were able to develop an in-house, first of its kind therapeutic model that works. It quickly became evident that responsive community organizations have a unique ability to deliver quality services with limited financial resources and the project evaluation demonstrates that. We cannot downplay the benefits of a counselling program placed within a community organization – women came for counselling, but then they connected to other programs and found a sense of community. I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished.”

Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council

“The success of this pilot project is a testament to what can be accomplished when universities and community partners truly work collaboratively. This project worked because we shared a common vision – to offer a service that was accessible, women-focused and useful. I am humbled by the trust women placed in us and this drop-in counselling initiative and so pleased the six-month pilot was a success.”

Catherine de Boer
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Memorial University


    • The Right Here, Right Now drop-in counselling clinic is the region’s first and only drop-counselling clinic operating out of a community organization.
    • 78 women came through the doors during the six-month pilot and 156 sessions were offered.
    • 86 per cent of the women used the RHRN clinic as a short-term counselling service, (i.e., came for either one or two sessions) which was the intention of the program.
    • Every woman who came for service was seen on the same day, the average length of service (including the intake and counselling session) was 90 minutes.
    • 64 per cent of the women who received drop-in counselling had never accessed services at the Women’s Centre before – 50 per cent of these “new” women remained engaged by either returning for additional counselling or by attending other programs at the St. John’s Women’s Centre.
    • The primary presenting concern of women coming in for counselling was their mental health, specifically anxiety, depression, bi-polar disorder, and addictions.


 Media Contacts
Jenny Wright
Executive Director
St. John’s Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.753.0220

Catherine de Boer
Associate Professor, School of Social Work
Memorial University
Tel. 709.743.4500

About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre 
The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.